McDonald’s, the world’s largest food services retailer with a huge presence of some 34,000 restaurants operating in 121 cities of the world, is all out to expand its retail network in Pakistan that the officials at food retailer rate as a “fantastic” consumer market of 200 million people.
Having set up at least 31 restaurants in eight big cities of Pakistan, McDonald’s is now shifting its focus towards the second and third tier cities of the country.
“Pakistan, to us, is an absolutely fantastic consumer market having a great depth of 200 million people,” Jamil Ahmed Mughal, director marketing and development at McDonald’s Pakistan, told Pakistan Today in an exclusive interview here.
Stemming from the huge confidence the local consumers are posing in McDonald’s global-certified food quality standards, this perception has made the food retailer embark on an expansion plan in terms of retail networking.
To this effect, Ahmed optimistically refers to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) his company has recently signed with Shell Pakistan with a view to enhance the former’s countrywide drive-through operations.
“Our co-alliance with Shell is generic in nature aiming primarily at enhancing our retail network through reaching as many people as we can,” said the director, adding that the move would help the company create a distinction.
“People generally choose to go to a restaurant with a drive-through facility. Let’s say at a fuel station. Drive-through operation stands the major feature of this MoU,” said Ahmed who says his “100 percent Pakistani” company with a 2,200 skilled workforce also would be exploring options to establish new outlets at Shell’s facilities it would deem suitable.
“We would see where we can get ourselves incorporated in Shell’s future locations,” he added.
His company, Ahmed said, had already reached a similar understanding with another oil giant Caltex in the posh neighborhood of Defence Housing Authority.
Operating in Pakistan since September 1998, the international food brand is also planning to tap its potential in new regions. “We are now going to the second and third tier cities like Gujrat, Sahiwal, Jehlam, Sukkur, Khairpur and so on,” said Ahmed.
About McDonald’s investment portfolio in Pakistan, he said the same was unquantifiable as it varied from restaurant to restaurant depending on the size and location of the food outlet. “All I can say here is that we have invested tons of money. We are a 10 percent Pakistani company having created at least 2200 jobs,” said Ahmed.
Massive investment, he said, was put in to train the company’s manpower in two dedicated training centers situated in Karachi and Lahore.
Queried about the number of products, Ahmed said the food retailer was serving a wide range of food items to its customers of all ages.
Law and order, Ahmed says, was everybody’s concern. “On our part, we are doing our best to closely monitoring our security.”
The unavailability of construction material in local markets the McDonald’s director quoted as a biggest challenge his firm was facing in Pakistan. “We need material to produce products of a global standard,” Ahmed explained.
Citing QSC (quality, service and cleanliness) as his primary focus, the McDonald’s official said his company was trying to excel in the three fields through adding more value to its ingredients and services.
“We have automated our kitchens to make the latest food serving models like MFU (Made For You) a success story. Cutting the delivery time significantly, the MFU has improved the quality of (our) product,” Ahmed said.